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What resolution does your image need to be?


Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

with Michael Ninness

Video: What resolution does your image need to be?

Here is a question I get asked actually quite a bit. It's what resolution do I need my images to be? To be able to answer that question, you first have to figure out where are you sending these images? What's your output path for these? Are they going to be printed? If so, are they going to be printed on a printing press or are they going to be printed to your inkjet printer on your Desktop? Or are they going to be displayed on a screen of some sort whether it be a monitor or a cell phone or a tablet device or netbook or you name it, anything with a digital display? So three different categories of output, there is halftone output, there is continuous tone output, and there is display output.
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  1. 6m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. What is Photoshop?
      2m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
  2. 28m 29s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      1m 54s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      3m 39s
    3. A tour of the different workspaces in Adobe Bridge
      4m 58s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 35s
    5. Changing obscure camera file names with the Batch Rename command
      2m 36s
    6. Adding basic metadata to every image with metadata templates
      3m 36s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 6s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      4m 5s
  3. 23m 4s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejects
      5m 27s
    2. Protecting the keepers by saving them in collections
      3m 18s
    3. Rating images
      3m 15s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 43s
    5. Viewing final choices in a slideshow
      2m 12s
    6. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      4m 9s
  4. 30m 50s
    1. Raw vs. JPEG files
      5m 13s
    2. Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      5m 9s
    3. A tour of the Camera Raw user interface
      6m 44s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      4m 2s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      2m 37s
    6. Choosing output settings
      2m 45s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      4m 20s
  5. 41m 34s
    1. Eliminating red-eye with the Red Eye Removal tool
      1m 13s
    2. Improving composition with the non-destructive Crop tool
      3m 33s
    3. Correcting a rotated horizon line with the Straighten tool
      3m 5s
    4. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      2m 13s
    5. Fixing blown-out highlights with Recovery
      2m 36s
    6. Revealing hidden shadow detail with Fill Light
      1m 47s
    7. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 37s
    8. Removing color fringes with Chromatic Aberration
      2m 36s
    9. Sharpening the details
      8m 59s
    10. End to end: Taking a so-so photo and making it great
      9m 55s
  6. 39m 5s
    1. Fixing blown-out skies with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 34s
    2. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 41s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      4m 28s
    4. Quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 33s
    5. Converting to black and white
      3m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustments tool
      4m 18s
    7. Easy sepia and split tone effects
      2m 35s
    8. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 46s
    9. Adding vignettes and border effects
      2m 13s
    10. Saving variations within a single file with Snapshots
      4m 21s
  7. 15m 48s
    1. Copying settings from one file and pasting across another in Adobe Bridge
      3m 7s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      2m 28s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 33s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      4m 40s
  8. 30m 39s
    1. Opening files from Adobe Bridge
      3m 1s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      3m 28s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      2m 57s
    4. Changing Mini Bridge so it auto-collapses
      1m 20s
    5. The Application frame
      2m 16s
    6. The Application bar
      1m 16s
    7. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 23s
    8. Panel management
      5m 31s
    9. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 18s
    10. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      3m 9s
  9. 16m 12s
    1. Tabbed documents
      2m 1s
    2. The Arrange Documents widget
      1m 38s
    3. How to stop Photoshop from tabbing documents
      3m 34s
    4. Pan and zoom
      5m 21s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 38s
  10. 36m 59s
    1. File formats
      13m 6s
    2. What resolution does your image need to be?
      10m 15s
    3. Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      3m 58s
  11. 42m 17s
    1. Crop options
      4m 12s
    2. Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 30s
    3. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      1m 34s
    4. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      6m 1s
    5. Making the canvas bigger by a specific amount with Relative Canvas Size
      1m 39s
    6. Correcting perspective with the Crop tool
      3m 5s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
    8. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      4m 12s
    9. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      4m 2s
    10. Warping images
      3m 40s
    11. Preserving the important elements with Content-Aware Scaling
      9m 32s
  12. 54m 42s
    1. The Background layer
      5m 14s
    2. Using a layer mask instead of deleting pixels
      4m 12s
    3. Loading multiple images into a single Photoshop document as layers
      1m 30s
    4. Naming, hiding, creating, and deleting layers
      4m 18s
    5. Changing the stacking order of layers
      2m 51s
    6. Selecting layers without using the Layers panel
      6m 28s
    7. Transforming layers
      7m 16s
    8. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 51s
    9. Changing the opacity of layers
      2m 57s
    10. Organizing layers into groups
      2m 55s
    11. Saving variations with layer comps
      5m 3s
    12. When to merge and rasterize layers
      5m 0s
    13. Flatten vs. Save As (a Copy)
      3m 7s
  13. 1h 4m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      7m 23s
    2. Transform selections
      2m 40s
    3. Quick Mask is your friend
      4m 31s
    4. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      6m 33s
    5. Using the Quick Selection tool
      3m 1s
    6. Re-selecting a previous selection
      1m 35s
    7. Improving a selection with Refine Edge
      4m 21s
    8. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      12m 7s
    9. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      2m 59s
    10. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 53s
    11. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      3m 53s
    12. Combining multiple exposures with the Blend If sliders
      6m 26s
    13. Replacing the sky in an image
      4m 19s
  14. 1h 1m
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      7m 57s
    2. Starting with a preset
      4m 25s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      10m 28s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 4s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      5m 56s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 55s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      9m 0s
    8. Making washed out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 46s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      5m 49s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an Adjustment Layer
      7m 28s
  15. 11m 32s
    1. Shadow/Highlight
      9m 3s
    2. Matching color across multiple images
      2m 29s
  16. 34m 12s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush
      6m 21s
    2. Quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      8m 23s
    3. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 47s
    4. Making teeth bright and white
      1m 43s
    5. De-emphasizing wrinkles
      4m 41s
    6. Removing unwanted details with Content Aware Fill
      4m 26s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify
      3m 51s
  17. 21m 6s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      7m 20s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      8m 30s
    3. Combining group shots with Auto-Align
      5m 16s
  18. 25m 36s
    1. Overview of filters
      4m 6s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters
      4m 45s
    3. Giving an image a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 41s
    4. Adding noise to an image with the Add Noise filter
      3m 34s
    5. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      4m 12s
    6. Giving an image more texture with the Texturizer
      1m 17s
    7. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 1s
  19. 30m 44s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      4m 43s
    2. Three blending modes you must know
      6m 41s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      3m 33s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      4m 33s
    5. Creating a diffused contrast glow effect with Overlay
      6m 2s
    6. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      5m 12s
  20. 21m 39s
    1. Character (point) type
      8m 19s
    2. Paragraph (area) type
      4m 42s
    3. Type on a path
      2m 54s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      2m 24s
    5. Warping type
      3m 20s
  21. 20m 35s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      4m 43s
    2. Adding an outer glow effect
      3m 13s
    3. Adding a border around an image
      2m 53s
    4. Copying layer effects and applying them to other layers
      2m 3s
    5. Saving layer styles and applying them in other documents
      2m 42s
    6. How (and when) to scale layer effects
      5m 1s
  22. 16m 6s
    1. Creating PDF contact sheets
      6m 41s
    2. Exporting web photo galleries
      6m 8s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 17s
  23. 1m 19s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 19s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
11h 15m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Automating image adjustments with Camera Raw
  • Adding keywords, ratings, and other metadata to images
  • Filtering a large collection of images down to the "keepers"
  • Cropping, correcting perspective, and straightening images
  • Creating, naming, hiding, and deleting layers
  • How to make selections and masks quickly
  • Improving mask quality with Refine Edge
  • Techniques for combining multiple images
  • Non-destructive editing techniques with adjustment layers and Smart Filters
  • Retouching essentials, such as blemish removal and body sculpting
  • Color correcting images
  • Using the essential blend modes, layer effects, and styles
  • Creating contact sheets and web photo galleries
Design Photography
Michael Ninness

What resolution does your image need to be?

Here is a question I get asked actually quite a bit. It's what resolution do I need my images to be? To be able to answer that question, you first have to figure out where are you sending these images? What's your output path for these? Are they going to be printed? If so, are they going to be printed on a printing press or are they going to be printed to your inkjet printer on your Desktop? Or are they going to be displayed on a screen of some sort whether it be a monitor or a cell phone or a tablet device or netbook or you name it, anything with a digital display? So three different categories of output, there is halftone output, there is continuous tone output, and there is display output.

Let's talk about each one of those because each one of them has different resolution needs. So let's talk about halftone output first. Halftone output is the word that's used when you are reproducing images on a printing press. There really is no notion of continuous tone on a printing press. You are creating the illusion of continuous tone by using different series of dots of ink on paper. Typically, in full-color printing, there is CMYK color printing, there's Cyan ink, Magenta ink, Yellow ink, and Black ink.

There are four different dot patterns, each of a color ink that when they're all laid and printed on top of each other, make up the illusion of a continuous tone print. A halftone then is a continuous tone image that used to be a photographic negative or print that was converted into an image that was made up of dots. So if you take a magnifying glass or what's called a Loupe to anything printed like a newspaper or magazine or whatever, you actually look at that through the magnifying glass. You will see a distinct dot pattern. That dot pattern is called a halftone.

So let's create a new file and just kind of run through some of the things in that New Document dialog box that are relevant to this conversation. What resolution do I need for printed output, halftone output? Well, in order to get a continuous tone image converted into a halftone image, it uses something called a line screen. Without getting too technically deep, it's this element that does the conversion from continuous tone to halftone. It generates a dot pattern. The line screen is what is used in that process. What line screen gets used is dependent on the paper quality and the printing press that you are going to be using for your project.

So you may not know what your line screen is. There is actually some standard defaults and industry defaults here. So for instance, if you are going to newsprint the type of paper that is used for your daily newspaper, typically your line screen is very low. It's 85 lines per inch, because the paper quality isn't that great. It's very porous. So when ink hits paper, it typically spreads. The term for that is called dot game. So the more poorest the paper, the harder it is to hold the shape of a very specific dot.

So if you had a very higher line screen, higher line screens generate smaller dots, lower line screens generate larger dots. So if you had a really high line screen and you try to print that on newsprint, what ends up happening is these very tiny dots just bleed into each other and becomes one big puddle of ink, instead of holding the individual dot shapes. So point being, you may not know what line screen are you supposed to be using, but you kind of might hopefully have an idea of what kind of paper you want. Do you want to use a Recycled Stock or a Matte Stock or a Smooth Stock or a Glossy Stock of paper? Each paper choice you choose will have a recommended range of line screens for the images that will be printed on them.

If you have a good relationship with the printer, they'll be able to tell you what line screen you should be using for the particular paper you've chosen for your project. Once you know what that line screen is, great! You double it and that's the resolution you need your images to be. So let's say that I am going to be printing a 7x5 or a 5x7 photograph here, and let's say I started out with a resolution of 600 dpi or pixels/inch. So I am going to go ahead and type in 600 resolution field here. You can see that's a pretty big file. It's 36 MB. Now, if my printer tells me well, you are using a line screen, we recommend you using a line screen of 100 Lines Per Inch for this halftone project that you're working on because you are printing on this particular paper. Great! What you do to that number, you double it.

So the resolution I need is actually 200, not 600. So if I change this to 200, look what happens to the file size? What used to be a 36 MB file now is only 4 MB. So the point being as you may work with really high-resolution files during design time in Photoshop. But when you get ready then to create the derivative file that you are going to be placing in say InDesign or Quark or Illustrator or wherever you are going to take this file and place it and then print it from, it turns out you don't need to send all of that extra information, if all I am going to do is print a 7x5 at 200.

I don't need 600 dots per inch of information. So what it does is it keeps your file size down a lot. It takes up less disc space. It actually prints faster, because you are sending in a lot less information to the printer, and you just have to let go this notion that high-resolution means you are always going to get a better looking image. For offset printing, that's actually not true. Sending a 200 dot per inch resolution file versus a 600 dot per inch resolution file for a project that's only going to be using 100 line per inch screen, the images will look identical when you get them off the printing press, if you're printing them side-by-side.

There will be no improvement in quality but you'll be able to perceive by sending the high-resolution file. So keep that in mind. Okay, so that second category is continuous tone output. Typically we think of that as inkjet printing or it used to be an Iris printer and those have kind of gone by the wayside these days, but the inkjet is what most people think of as a continuous tone printing device today. You might have a Canon or an HP or whatever. The target resolution you need for inkjet printing is never really more than 300 dpi. In fact, most inkjet printers assume a default of 240 dpi.

So for example, if you are shooting with a Canon digital camera, Canon also sells digital inkjet printers. The default resolution on the camera when you capture images digitally with your camera, it sets the resolution of those files to 240 dots per inch, so that when you open it up in Photoshop, they've already got the target resolution dialed in. So if you were to print that to a Canon printer, it just already is at that resolution. So the reason you don't need to bother about a line screen is that you're not converting your continuous tone image into a series of halftone dots.

You are printing it as if you were simulating, creating a photographic print in the darkroom. It is the illusion of continues tone. If you take a magnifying glass to an inkjet print, it will feel more like a photograph than it will something that you printed on a printing press. You won't see a distinct dot pattern. At least if you have a high-quality inkjet printer, you shouldn't see a dot pattern. You should just see continuous tone. So again, I never need more than 300 dpi provided that I am printing at actual size. So I want this to be a 7x5 photograph, I size it to be those dimensions, I type in the resolution I need it to be, 300.

That's as much information as I need. You can probably get away with much less that's why the default is typically 240 for some of these inkjet printers, but again, 300 is just a nice, clean, easy number to remember. Okay, so the third category is outputting to a screen of any size whether it would be on iPhone, on an iPad or a Blackberry or more of a tablet computer or a monitor, maybe you are hooking up to a projector. In that scenario when you're just targeting a device monitor display, you don't actually care about resolution in the typical way we have been talking about it.

It doesn't matter what dots per inch the file is set to the resolution of that file. What matters are the pixel dimensions of the file. Typically, you want to target the pixel dimensions of the device or the display that you're going to be representing this image on or displaying this image on. So let's say that I was creating a keynote or a PowerPoint presentation, and I know that I'm targeting at my projector, my projector displays at 1024x768 pixels, great! What you need to do then is change your measurement system in Photoshop, not at inches but change it to pixels.

Then make the width and height of the image, the pixel dimensions of the display or the projector that you're going to be hooking it up to. So in this case I'd make it 1024 for the Width and I'll hit my Tab key to jump to the Height field and type in 768. Let's say I am targeting that projector as the image size that I'm going to be displaying here. If it was an iPhone, of course it would be a much smaller screen size. But you just need to know what the pixel dimensions are of the device that you are targeting. You can see the file size went down to 2.25 MB. Here is what's interesting.

Now that your measurement system has been changed to pixels, and I have dialed in some specific pixel dimensions, it doesn't actually matter what number is in the Resolution field, because resolution only matters when you print. What dots per inch will the printer use to represent the file when it ends up on paper? If I change this resolution to 1 pixel per inch, I think all of you would agree that is a low-resolution file. The file size did not change. It's still a 2.25 MB file, because Photoshop doesn't actually care what the resolution of the file is while you are working on the file in Photoshop.

Resolution again only matters when you print the file. You are telling the printer what dots per inch to represent the image as, as it gets printed. So if I change this to 1000 pixels/inch, again now you would see that that's a high-resolution file. But again, the file size did not change. Review, halftone output, continuous tone output or display output, again your target resolution if you are creating halftone projects is two times the line screen. What determines your line screen, the type of paper you are using, and the type of printing press it's being printed on.

Who is going to know that information? The printer you're working with, they'll tell you what line screen is recommended, you double that number and that is your target resolution for your final file size. If you're printing to an inkjet printer, it's continuous tone. Your target resolution is never more than 300, and of course if you're doing a display graphic, a graphic that's going to be represented on a digital display, resolutions are relevant, all you care about are pixel dimensions, what are the pixel dimensions of the device that you are going to be presenting this image on. Hopefully, that clears up what resolution your images need to be.

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